San Francisco

San Francisco, USA

San Francisco is situated along the Western Pacific Ocean, with rolling hills and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the United States and Northern California. The city is full of history, parks, beaches, museums, entertainment and an overwhelming variety of restaurants.

Located between the San Francisco Bay and Marin County is the world famous Golden Gate Bridge. This iconic bridge has been declared one of the modern wonders of the world opening in 1937. Made from steel with a total length of 1.7 miles it is the most photographed bridge in the world.

Fisherman’s Wharf is a famous waterfront hub where you can enjoy fantastic cuisine. There are numerous outdoor stalls selling fresh Dungeness Crab or restaurants selling the freshest fish from the days catch.

Pier 39 is full of activity with their dozens of boutiques and eateries. The shops are very touristy however, the seafood restaurants give you a true taste of the city. Local Sea Lions live along the waterfront and are often found lounging on the Pier 39 docks. While at the Pier why not take a sightseeing cruise to see the views from the water over the Bay.

Ghirardelli Square is home to upmarket shops, restaurants and hotels. Initially it was a chocolate factory that was owned and established by Domenico Ghirardelli. Born in Italy in 1817, he worked as a young confectioner before leaving for Uruguay. Eventually he ending up in San Francisco where the chocolate factory was set up.

Golden Gate Park is amazing. This picturesque park spans 1,017 acres and has many places to explore and relax. You can discover the lakes, picnic areas, monuments, playgrounds and gardens.

Sitting just off the coast is Alcatraz Island, a tiny island which was developed as a military fortification, a military prison and as the well-known federal prison between 1933-1963. Quite a few infamous prisoners have stayed here including Al Capone and Robert Franklin Stroud.

Union Square is the most visited neighbourhood in San Francisco. Here you will find a considerable collection of high end retail outlets, fancy hotels, cafés, art galleries and great nightlife.

There are four Chinatown’s within San Francisco with the one on Grant Avenue being the largest Chinatown outside of Asia.

San Francisco is very proud of their cable car system, they were introduced in 1873 to spare the horses from the city's gruelling hills. Today, only a few cable cars remain and are mainly as a tourist attraction. Riding a cable car is an unforgettable experience. The Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde are the most scenic routes taking you Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, the Ferry Building, Nob Hill and Lombard Street. The California line runs through the Financial District, Chinatown and Nob Hill.

Angel Island is the second largest Island in the Bay. Hop on a ferry from San Francisco and upon arrival you can take an open air tram or a Segway tour of the island. You will find some fantastic cafés and bars serving up delicious food here while overlooking views of the Bay.

The Walt Disney Family Museum is where you can learn about the life of Walt Disney. The museum features some of the historic items that brought Walt Disney’s imagination to life. You can see some of the earliest drawings of a 12 foot replica of Disneyland or his 248 awards in the Museum, which were won by Disney during his glittering career. Part of the Museum is a Fantasia inspired theatre, which shows Disney classics daily.

The Twin Peaks in San Francisco are another famous attraction and offer spectacular views over the Bay area. Originally called ‘Los Pechos de la Choca’ meaning Breasts of the Maiden, these two peaks are adjacent to each other and stand at 922 feet.

Coit Tower at the top of Telegraph Hill has fantastic 360 degree views over the city and the Bay. The tower was named after Elizabeth ‘Lillie’ Hitchcock Coit, an eccentric, wealthy woman. After she passed away she left a substantial sum of money to the city so the tower could be built in her honour.

Sausalito is 30 minutes by boat from San Francisco. The views will leave you in awe including Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and Angel Island before arriving in the peaceful harbour. Sausalito has an idyllic scenery and a picturesque waterfront town, which resembles a fishing village along the Mediterranean Sea.

While staying in San Francsico there are some great day trips to be had including the Muir Woods National Monument an area spanning 554 acres with 240 acres of this park is full of Redwood Trees.

Napa and Sanoma Valleys are just a 90 mins drive away, they are famous for being the largest grape growing areas in California, the scenery and their gastronomy. The quaint town of Yountville has many excellent French restaurants and the Spa destination of Calistoga where you can see Old Faithful Geyser.

Both Carmel and Monterey are two seaside towns, which boast a pristine natural surrounding and an alluring old world atmosphere. Carmel Village has plenty to offer including fairytale cottages, art galleries, boutiques and some wonderful restaurants and is a California’s most romantic getaway. Monterey is famous for its historic waterfront fish packing Cannery Row, the inspiration for the colourful tales in John Steinbeck's novel Cannery Row. Then three is the stretch of California's oceanfront, Highway One situated between the two towns, known as the 17 Mile Drive, considered one of the most beautiful drives on the West Coast.

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